On his wrist he had a bandage. But it wasn’t for an injury, it simply had the name ‘Frank’ written on it.
Such was the emotion for Oliver Plunketts leading up to Sunday’s game that afterwards as they celebrated their championship victory, the first words out of every player’s mouth were about Frank and his vast contribution to Oliver Plunketts.
Having his name written on his wrist, was Man of the Match Luke Haggins small personal tribute to the man.
“We proved everybody wrong, nobody expected us to win. As you can see on my arm, it’s for Frank Taaffe. He was our inspiration”, explained Haggins.
The days leading up the final were tough and Haggins revealed the mindset within Oliver pLunketts.
“There was talk of the game being called off, but Frank wouldn’t have wanted that. And it brilliant that we’ve won it for him.”
The other problem in the build up to Sunday was of course the much publicised semi final debacle, but it Oliver Plunketts didn’y lose focus throughout the weeks revealed Haggins.
“It did take so long to take place, but we stuck together through it. We trained every weekend and nobody got any injuries. Two nights a week, if you don’t train you don’t win.”
Haggins’ two goal salvo effectively killed off the Combination side’s championship hopes. The full forward knew that the first goal gae hime and the team the confidence to tear into the Mid-Louth side.
“Once you get one under your belt you want to do more and it gives you confidence to get more and luckily I did that.”
At the outset it looked like the Plunketts could be brushed aside by the favourites. The early attacks were all from the Combination side, but the Drogheda men managed to weather the storm and overcome their own slow start.
“We always start slowly, especially in the last couple of championship games. But luckily we carry through and present the goods in the end”, stated Haggins.
They did power back in to the game and dominated the remainder of the first half, yet Haggins agreed that his side should have been further ahead and missed some glaring opportunities to kill off the favourites then.
“We missed a lot of chances before half time. But luckily the ball fell to me near the end and we won it.”
The combination side were always expected to come back into the game, but when they did Haggins believes they frustrated themselves more than anything else.
“They got a lot of frees near the end but they didn’t take their chances, maybe they were a wee bit greedy, luckily for us”, he added.
The Mid-Louth side’s goal left the game on a knife edge and the Plunketts felt the strain according to Haggins.
“The nerves kicked in then, but you can’t drop your head, if you do that you lose the match. But we managed to stay strong to see it through.”
With the 2012 season eventually wrapped up, thoughts turn to next year and the future for the Oliver Plunketts. There is a hope that some of this team will make it on to the senior team and battle for the junior championship in 2013.
“There’s a couple of the lads already on the senior panel so hopefully we can get a few more pushed through for next year and kick on an win the junior championship.”